Back in late July, when Luke Walsh was carried off on a stretcher after badly breaking his leg I was probably not the only one that night believing that Saints’ hopes and dreams of getting to Old Trafford had also disappeared down the tunnel.

And when it was also revealed that Jon Wilkin had joined the previously sidelined Jonny Lomax on the season-ending casualty list it looked to all intents and purposes that the season that had gone up like a dazzling skyrocket in February was going to come down like a burnt out old stick before autumn was here.

Sometimes you get seasons where key injuries take their toll, and so my only hope in September was that the team would go down swinging like they did in 2005 without Sean Long and Darren Albert, rather than meekly limp out like the Darren Britt-less team had done in 2003.

It was not a case of writing them off - which in the words of The Quiet Man you must never do – it was just examining the extremely tall order Saints were looking at before Nathan Brown threw all the jerseys back into the middle of the dressing room, played origami with his flip chart and devised a way of making best use of the remaining talent.

Brown was nevertheless still correct when he explained on Monday that few people outside the direct playing group and staff genuinely believed that Saints would get to the Grand Final six weeks ago.

Saints still have a massive hurdle to clear – but some of the comment thrown the team’s way has been downright disrespectful. I’d say it would be good motivation but given the level of abuse some members of this team have had on Twitter and the like during the course of the year I’d imagine they have already stopped listening to what other people say anyway.

Is rugby league the only sport where a team can finish top after winning more games than the others and beat every single team in the competition at least once and still get ‘experts’ rubbishing that achievement?

At the end of the day you don’t fluke 27 rounds or jumping the two hurdles to get to Old Trafford. Leeds had five members in the Dream Team and they could not get over the first hurdle this time around.

Admittedly Saints will go to the Grand Final as massive underdogs against the champion Wigan team that has been ticking over like a well oiled, aggressive machine since getting over their post Challenge Cup wobble.

So if you listen to the pundits, look at the fact that Wigan have seven to nil in the England team and are so confident the Cherry and White will significantly outnumber our fans then it is easy to draw that conclusion.

But at times like these it is worth dipping into Italian revolutionary Antonio Gramsci’s “Optimism of the will, pessimism of the intellect”

And as long as the 17 lads running out there with a red vee on their chest on Saturday teatime have that will, then there is always a chance that they can produce 80 minutes that can put humble pie at the top of the post match menu.